Make sure you get a great shot, even though getting back to school may look a little different this year!

Let’s face it.  Back to school season may be a little different this year.  No doubt we’ll be thinking about social bubbles and social distancing and hand sanitiser and face masks.  But if the government don’t make anymore dramatic U-turns, our children should all be back in school in a few weeks time.  Inevitably, no matter how and when they go back to school, our social media feeds will be filled with excited children lined up in front of front doors.  And after 6 months of being at home, I’m sure there will be some pretty excited parents too!

It’s the first day back.  The new uniforms look sparkling fresh and hairstyles are smart.  The new pencil cases and lunchboxes are packed and you’re rushing out the door!  Rather than grab a quick snap as an afterthought, why not plan ahead and get a back to school photograph you’ll treasure in years to come?  Here, I’ll talk you through my five top tips for taking a great back to school photo of your children.  Make it one you’ll be proud to post on social media, even if you’re in a rush to get everyone out, with all the right stuff, and on time on the first morning back!


If you’re struggling to get your children all lined up neatly and posing for a photo on that first day back, why not switch to a storytelling shot?  Grab some shots as they get themselves dressed in their new school uniforms.  You could also try whilst they much their breakfast, or as they walk to the bus stop, or even waving goodbye as they head through the gates.  Photograph their backs as they walk ahead of you with their friends, or ask them to jump in the air.  Whatever you capture, it doesn’t always have to be a line up in front of your front door to make it a good back to school photo!


Try and build in some extra time on that first morning.  This allows you to go at a slower pace and capture the details as you all get ready to leave the house.  If this isn’t possible, try photographing the details a few days before school starts instead.  You can photograph the brand new school shoes you carefully chose together, the Spiderman backpack he just had to have, or the new red bow she desperately wanted for her hair.  You spend ages preparing all these details for the year ahead, so they are worth capturing too!

back to school
back to school
back to school
back to school


You’ve got the ‘front door’ shot.  And the ‘heading into school’ shot.  And you’ve grabbed the ‘new uniform’ shot.  But what about the close up?  Children and grow up and change so much in a year, it’s worth getting a close-up of those precious faces.  It really lets you observe how the little details change as they grow up.  Face them towards the light, move in close, and fill the whole frame with their head before you click the shutter!


Finding the best light in the space you have is essential for getting and Instagram-worthy back to school shot.  The basic rule is to make sure the kids are facing towards the light. For example, if you’re taking a photo of the children indoors, make sure they are facing towards a window. The light coming in falls directly on them, therefore brightening everyone’s faces nicely.  If you’re outdoors, find a spot where they can face towards the sun (even if it’s cloudy).  And lastly, just keep an eye on the background of your photo.  You may not want your neighbour’s underpants hanging on the washing line in your back to school photo!

back to school
back to school


Taking the same back to school photo in the same place with the same pose every year certainly takes commitment.  But its definitely worth it!  Having that same shot each September is a great way to document your children growing up and really see the changes in them each year. It doesn’t really matter where you take it, so long as the light is good and the background is something familiar to you al.  Lastly, you’ll need to make sure you can take the same shot there next year, and the year after and so on!

You certainly can’t stop them growing up!  But you can use your camera (or your camera phone) to snap a whole load of memories to look back on for years to come.

back to school
back to school
back to school
back to school


Wow!  Stunningly beautiful photographs capturing a moment in time for our family!  It was such a relaxed and fun shoot that we all thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you.


Louisa Williams is a family photographer based near Cambridge.  If you’re interested in a family photo shoot, you can find more details about her sessions here  or email 

Louisa also offers beginner’s photography tuition for parents.   More information on  teaching sessions can be found here.


Louisa French Photography

Cambridge Photographer